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Posts Tagged ‘Drupal’

Drupal vs Zend : which one should be used for application development?

“You have done that specific site in Zend, don’t you think our application is also suitable for Zend instead of Drupal”, I just got this email from a prospective client.

This question has been asked to me many times. I am a big fan of Drupal as well Zend, so this question always put me in my difficult zone. As I know both, I really can not take a stand against any one of them. Technically speaking, both are capable of handing any kind of project, although both have their pros and cons.

drupal_zend_development

There is proverb, “All roads leads to Rome”. This same anatomy can be used in the tech decisions, if you are adamant about a technology you can do anything in that. Its just a matter of time and money, in short we can say its matter of resources. So I really can not state that a ‘particular’ task in not possible in Drupal or Zend. I can only state how much time a task will take in Drupal vs Zend or vice versa.

Lets try to analyze some of the common benefits of using Drupal and Zend. We will try to see which kind of application is suitable for Drupal or Zend.

Zend is a framework which provides MVC structure and many libraries to work with different components and services. These components and services allows you to build an application with ease. You can keep your concentration on the business logic and requirements of application instead of worrying about underline technical details of functional implementations.

Zend gives you a structure where you can implements many design patterns which you may have read in design pattern books. Using Zend you can directly use those classy patterns (thus takes benefits of them) in your applications without writing low level implementation code.

I am trying to enlist few requirements of  almost all applications and my views on them in regards to Drupal and Zend

Time frame

Turn around time for Zend application is usually higher than Drupal applications. In Drupal you have a running CMS with lots of available modules which  gives you functionality out of the box. So on time frame front Drupal scores really high.

Design
Zend applications has greater control over design aspects as it is programmed from scratch. Drupal on the other hand has a defined structure of elements which needs to used in certain ways. If you want to get rid of those structures, you may loose some benefits of drupal framework. Here Zend scores higher points as compared to Drupal, although a good designer with programmer support or programming knowledge can do wonders with Drupal. CSS manipulation is quite easy with Drupal.

Features Development

On this point, Drupal scores really higher as compared to Zend. Drupal has more than few thousands modules with different kind of functions. It also has concept of Site or Installation profiles where you can get a set bunch of modules for a particular use.

Zend on other hand is only a framework with libraries, it can help you to build applications but it can not gives you out of the box solutions. Zend version 2 has taken a big leap in this direction as module framework has evolved a lot with this release. So we can hope for some great modules in near future (We are also working on some such modules at our company which we will release in near future). There is another aspect of this feature, Drupal while having lots of modules also confuse potential customers or developers. They normally needs to do some hit and trial before they can get a good usable module.

Branding

When it comes to branding, Drupal scores less than Zend. Drupal being a CMS does have less respect in eyes of policy makers as compared to one which Zend enjoys. Zend seems to be perfect tailored solution while Drupal comes as something modified/managed solution. This is something which is beyond any technical explanation. So I will keep my views on this point with myself only. Just to state, I did not like such kind of perception building, but you can never argue with policy makers or people who has powers to take decisions.

Cost

As time frame is better with Drupal, it is obviously cheaper to build than Zend applications.

Most important factor in Drupal vs Zend decision is the requirement document of the application in hand. For example, application may be quite unique in its requirements, and you may not have any available module for it in Drupal. In this case, you loose time frame benefits.

So final decision should be taken with care with consultation with client.

 

I have given following reply to my this client

We have worked with both Zend and Drupal for different projects. In some projects we have even used both Zend and Drupal together.

Actually tech decision depends on many factors like budget, cost, clients internal policies and application requirements. Zend is a framework, while Drupal is also a CMS with good framework for a foundation of good application. Different modules also supports us. As I have mentioned in my estimation email, we are also going to get benefits of our earlier work on similar things.

In your application structure, Drupal is perfect choice. Having said that I would like state that your project is also doable in Zend, but in that case we will loose the benefits of ready made modules and our earlier work.

Again, I will repeat ,we can handle both, but economically and time wise Drupal is best choice for you if you do not have issues with its GNU  GPL license.

 

I have done extensive work in both Zend framework development as well as Drupal development. Drupal and Zend both are feature rich and secures platforms if you can develop and deploy your apps with a proper planning. If you feel that an expert with good experience in both Zend and Drupal development may help you in your decision between Zend and Drupal. Please feel free to contact me , you can also chat with me if I am online.

How to integrate Magento and Drupal?

Magento is one of popular and robust e-commerce system which is based on the Zend Framework by Zend. It gives good tools and mechanism to operate your e-commerce websites and even multiple stores on different urls via single admin section.

Drupal is one of the best open source CMS having power of ease of use and lots of available modules which helps to build new functionality for users. It has powerful cck module for managing different meta values of a content entity. View helps to give representation of data in drag and drop kind of interface.

Now Magento and Drupal can be integrated with each other thanks to open source and free modules/extension which are available.

 

Drupal extension for Magento

Magento provides and extension for integrating Drupal into magento.

As per details given by the developer of Drupal extension :-

Drupal extension is a set of Core API extensions that offers a full access for Drupal modules  to Orders, Catalog and so on. This extension, will offer you to TOTALLY bypass Magento front office, using Drupal instead. When a new user is created a Magento user is automatically created also. Orders can be created from Drupal, cart is managed from Drupal. Catalog is syncrhonized, so each Magento Product is a Drupal node that you can push into Views, etc.

 

Magento module for Drupal

Drupal provides a Magento module which helps to import many magento entities in drupal as cck and you can also use views to customize your presentation layer.

 

As per details given by the development team at Drupal :-

  • Synchronization of Magento products to Drupal (currently supported type of products are: simple products, configurable products). All Magento attributes are dynamically synchronized into Drupal CCK fields
  • Custom product options
  • Up-sells, cross-sells, linked products
  • Synchronization of Magento categories into Drupal taxonomies
  • Synchronization of Drupal users to Magento customers, synchronization of addresses
  • Synchronization of currencies and currency conversion rates
  • Stock management
  • Full-featured shopping cart
  • Fully themable and customizable checkout process
  • Coupon codes
  • Payment modes API
  • Shipping methods API (support of all simple Magento shipping modes works out of the box)

 

 

Integrating Zend Framework with Drupal and WordPress

Zend Framework is not only a framework but a robust library for many kind of operations and services. While working with Drupal or WordPress sometime we found that a good library for one particular operation is already available in Zend Framework.

You can easily use Zend Framework library in your projects with bothering about its app framework and MVC structure. Drupal and WordPress both have mechanism to use Zend framework in them without doing any major work.

Drupa module for Zend Framework

Its very easy to setup and use. You can start using Zend Framework in your Drupal modules within few minutes.
Installation and usage instructions are available on Module’s page.

http://drupal.org/project/zend

This module is available for version 6 as well as 7 of Drupal.

WordPress plugin for Zend Framework

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/zend-framework

This module also provide embedded Zend framework library and easy to install and setup.

Plugin’s official setup instructions need one clarification (As I am writing this).

On page

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/zend-framework/installation/

Following instruction has been mentioned.

1. Upload plugin-name.php to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory

I think writer forgot to change the instruction template, this can be read at

1. Upload zend-framework folder to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory

One more plugin is also available for WordPress at

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-zff-zend-framework-full

This module has instructions which are more detailed and precise to be used.

Let�s plug the power of Zend Framework library to these wonderful CMSs and enjoy the benefits.

WordPress to Drupal Migration – Part 1

Recently I have done few projects where sites were growing rapidly in terms of functionalities and their current wordpress structure was not good enough to handle those changes. I am going to write about the summary of these personal experiences in this series of articles. I will summarize the steps and work I have done to do this migration.

Why Migration?

We should not do something because we can, should only do if need is there. So before starting it is necessary to understand if you really need the migration from WordPress to Drupal. WordPress is really a fantastic system and I have used the wordpress on website where we have done big customization and those sites were getting users visit in millions.

Following points can be considered and discussed with the team before finalizing migration :-
1. What is main purpose of migration?
2. What are the main problems which you are supposed to be solved with migration?
3. Is there any available way in the current system using which current system issues can be solved?
4. What is the time different between estimation of migration and solving problem within current system?
5. Do you see any future benefits in migration?
6. Do you have required skill set and resources to do the migration?
7. Are you migrating because you do not have resources to manage current system?

Gather answers for these questions and then analyze your situation.

In next part I will discuss what benefits Drupal can provide over a WordPress system?

My Experiments with Open Source CMS and E-commerce Solutions

From now I will write about my experiences with Open Source CMSs/E-commerce Solutions everyday, I have planned to write about my projects and my work in those CMSs as a php developer.

I have planned following CMSs :

1. Joomla
2. WordPress
3. Drupal
4. SugarCRM
5. OsCommerce
6. Magento
7. PHPbb
8. ZenCart

Of course this list will increase everyday,